Total Access Medical - Direct Primary Care Blog

Retainer Medicine: Is That a Fair Description?

Posted by Richard Stamps on May 25, 2015

There are many different names for concierge medicine: boutique medicine and doctors on demand immediately come to mind. We don't have a problem with these phrases.

However, one phrase that we've been hearing a lot lately is "retainer medicine," and we wanted to share our thoughts on why this term isn't the best label for concierge medicine.

The phrase "retainer medicine" doesn't say anything about the care you receive.

This is why "doctors on demand" and "boutique medicine" are preferable phrases since these labels indicate how the model differs in the way it delivers care, which is the primary distinction between concierge medicine and traditional healthcare.retainer-medicine-and-concierge-medicine

In concierge medicine, doctors have more time to devote to each patient since the doctors carry significantly smaller caseloads. In essence, patients can "demand" to see doctors when the patients want, not when the doctors' calendars open up. This creates a more exclusive "boutique" type feel.

The phrase "retainer medicine" puts the focus on money.

The money discussion is relevant, of course, since you pay for concierge medicine out of pocket as opposed to having it covered by a traditional insurance plan. The word "retainer" simply indicates how you pay for concierge medicine.

Lawyers typically require retainers as well, but we don't call it "retainer law," do we? Retainer medicine puts too much focus on money, when the focus should be on how concierge medicine delivers care.

The phrase "retainer medicine" might dissuade people from considering it.

A label that immediately conjures dollars might discourage people since it's easy to jump to the conclusion that "retainer" equals "luxury expense."

Yes, concierge medicine costs money. No, not everyone can afford it. However, concierge medicine is more affordable than many people realize. According to Concierge Medicine Today, "over 62% of the fees touted by direct-pay or concierge medicine doctors cost patients less than $135 per month."

The phrase "retainer medicine" doesn't reflect this medicine model's rich history.

The word "retainer" sounds like a business buzzword, doesn't it? Yet concierge medicine harkens back to the days when doctors had personal relationships with each patient and regularly made house calls.

At Total Access Medical, our tagline is "Modern medicine. Old-fashioned care" for a reason. We appreciate how doctors used to interact with their patients in the old days—so much so that our goal is to combine the many wonderful benefits of personal medicine with all the technological advancements modern medicine has to offer.

What do you think? Is retainer medicine an accurate label in your mind, or do you prefer something else? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Topics: Concierge Medicine